Thursday, 31 December 2015

Last Patch Walk Of 2015

Date: 31/12/2015

Location: Newton St Loe - Patch 
Weather: Sunshine but becoming windy with drizzle at end.

Other Species: Green Woodpecker, Greater-Spotted Woodpeecker, Kingfisher, Linnet, Kestrel, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Stonechat.

Observation: Headed out to lake to look for Black necked grebe. Out through Bath Mill a group of Linnet around 20 on dog walk trees but little else until Village .

This Song Thrush posed nicely

In fact this was the only thing that did pose for me.

At the lakes no Black-Necked Grebe or Goosanders not much.
Saw the Kingfisher briefly, 5 or 6 Lesser Black Backed and normal Mallards.

Wind started to get up so headed back last spot Kestrel and a rainbow.

Happy New Year + Thanks For Reading  :)

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Blue Skies On The Levels...

Date: 29th December 2015
Location: Westhay > Greylake > Ham Wall

Observation: Blue skies forecast, so headed down to the Somerset Levels. Started at Westhay, where the car-park was almost full already, the reserve was pretty quiet, the odd Cetti's Warbler singing in the tree's, with a fly-past Mute Swan against the blue!

With not much about and only taking the one picture we moved on swiftly to Greylake, hoping for a space in the car-park! Close, we must have taken the last space! Lots of people hanging around in the car-park so headed around the reserve to see some birds! On arrival all waders and ducks in the air, the pair of Marsh Harriers were causing havoc!

Managed to squeeze into the Treetop Hide, where there were plenty to look at. Thousands of Wigeon, and quite a few Snipe also. Lapwing spent most of the time in the air because of the Marsh Harriers sat on the banks.

A few of our favourites from Greylake:

Quite big groups of Starling at Greylake feeding in the fields.

Onto Ham Wall lastly, headed straight for the Dusky Warbler that had been showing and calling 1 minute before we arrived. On arrival a few birders were following it from tree and tree (such a flighty bird!) after about 20 minutes of searching, with only one view we moved on, no pictures unfortunately, too many Chiffchaff's nearby, and it didn't call whilst we were there! There's always next time.... A quick break back at the van waiting for the Starlings, hundreds of people arrived for the roost, new and old car park completely full, with cars double parking and along Ashcott Road also. 4pm came and no sign of any Starlings not 1! 
Maybe they roosted at Shapwick? Headed that way still no luck, only one large group of around 1,000 - 2,000 passed overhead with tiny groups of 20 - 30 birds in them. 

Seemed to be more Starling at Greylake in the afternoon than at the roost.
No idea where they roosted tonight and why they didn't roost on the Levels? 

Traffic getting out of car-park onto main road was a nightmare, at a standstill for over 30 minutes, amazing to think how it coped before the new car-park was opened!

Weather: Blue Sky, Warm  - 12.5 Degrees

Other Species: Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Snipe, Wigeon, Shoveler, Starling, Greater-Spotted Woodpecker, Teal, Chiffchaff, Cetti's Warbler

Thanks For Reading!

Monday, 28 December 2015

Then There Were None!

Date: 28/12/2015
Location: Newton St Loe Patch
Species: 37 including 6 Goosander,15+ Meadow Pipits, Raven, Redwing, Teal, Collared Dove, Buzzard, Blackcap, Siskin.

Obs: Did normal walk, but spied the dark Lesser Black-Backed Gull on lower fields again. So headed down conservation path towards lower fields, just a Lesser Black Backed! From top of hill it looked so dark!

Walk was very quiet, 2 Meadow Pipits on top fields, Village also quiet.
Lower Lake Siskin feeding with Goldfinch and on Top Lake Goosander, now 6! 
Went from 10 to 1 to 3 now 6!

Watched lake for half hour, Teal were scattered around edges 
but Goosander looked great!

Then the Goosander drifted down to other end of lake, then they all took off 
and disappeared! 
They flew northerly direction, waited 10 mins or so gone!

Walked out through college, nice and quiet, no students!
Along the drive a group of at least 15 Meadow Pipits feeding in fields,
flew to trees by cattle grid.

One of the individual seems to be slightly leucistic. 

A group of around 20 Redwing along lanes before playgroup.
Last spot a Buzzard far trees Clays Bottom.

Thanks For Looking :)

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Another Boxing Day Wander!

Date: 26th December 2015 - Boxing Day
Location: Newton Park Lake Circular

Observation: After a wet Christmas day, we decided to go for a Boxing day wander as it seems to be every year on Boxing Day we get a new patch tick! 
2010 was Siskin, 
2012 our patch was flooded, 
2013 was Marsh Tit and 
2014 was a Fox! 

We started through Bath Mill, where there were plenty of Long-Tailed Tits, Goldcrest and more Jackdaws/Crows about. We also heard a Greater-Spotted  Woodpecker in the nearby trees but couldn't locate it. 

Onto the Dog Walk where we finally seen our Buzzard, haven't seen him about for a while and were getting concerned! There was also more Passerines and a Mistle Thrush in the woods on the Dog Walk. 

Looking down to Globe roundabout there were 50+ gulls these included Herring Gulls, Black-Headed Gulls and Lesser Black-Backed, we also thought we had a patch tick of 4 Greater Black-Backed Gull, but later looking on these it appears to be dark-morph Lesser Black-Backed Gull, so no new patch tick for us!

In the Village by Send-A-Cow there were a group of Redwing and Fieldfare high in the trees, along with a single Jay.

At the Lakes, we still couldn't locate the Little Owl, but there was a fly-past Kingfisher who perched the end of the Lake, who then flew up to Top Lake. 

The single Male Goosander was still on the Lake being mobbed by Gulls, whilst talking to Robert Hargreaves (another patch birder) another Male and Female Goosander just seemed to appear! This took the total back up to 3 (2 Male and 1 Female).

The Gulls seem to enjoy the Goosanders being present on the Lake and don't leave them alone! Also 7 Teal present.

There was nothing new of note on the return walk so will leave you with this.

Weather: Cloudy, Dry + Warm

Other Species: Buzzard, Goldcrest, Long-Tailed Tit, Greater-Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush, Wren, Greater Black-Backed Gull, Jay, House Sparrow, Redwing, Fieldfare, Goosander, Goldfinch, Teal, Chaffinch - Of Note

Thanks for the support during 2015, and best wishes for 2016!

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Patch Walk In Drizzle

Date: 22/12/2015
Location: Newton St Loe - Patch
Weather: Grey, No Light, Drizzle
Other Species:
Coal Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Goldfinch,
Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Black Headed Gull, Crow, Raven, Jackdaw, Rook, Magpie, Jay, Wood Pigeon, Blackbird, Meadow Pipit, Greater-Spotted Woodpecker,
Green Woodpecker, Linnet, Goldcrest, Robin, Redwing, Treecreeper, Siskin,
Goosander, Mute Swan, Grey Heron, Coot, Moorhen, Teal, Mallard, Long Tailed Tits, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Bullfinch,
Pheasant, Mistle Thrush, House Sparrow - 42 Species
Headed out through Bath Mill with grey skies, Jackdaw first spot, unusual as normally see Jackdaws at Lakes but seem to be seeing more over Bath Mill and not as many on Lakes?
Anyway not much else through, up on to fields saw 2 Meadow Pipits briefly then 4 Linnet being blown across the landscape. Not seen Buzzard over Seven Acre for a few walks now. Down on Lower Fields by Globe Inn there were at least 300 Gulls assorted.
Out through Village drizzle now rain ! 
After Church noticed another large amount of Gulls on Newton Park drive fields counted 100 Common Gulls mixed with a few Black Headed Gulls.

On to Lower Lake and a group of 10+ Siskin and Goldcrest feeding in Alder 
terrible light and wet !

Upper Lake we had 10 Goosander now 1 ! 
Don't think he stay long as Black Headed Gulls on Lake keep pestering him :(

Teal numbers have risen to 14.

Also on banks of Lake spotted a Primrose! #Springtime

Despite the rain carried on out through college up towards Home Farm.
Across from College football pitches more large groups of Gulls 200+ again Common Gulls mixed with Lesser and Black Headed plus a few Herring Gulls.

Higher up field a group of Redwing feeding, Llight still not improved. Heading on across Conservation Path and down past Pennsylvania Farm, Bullfinch and Mistle Thrush being the last spot.

A nice but wet walk :)

Thanks For Looking :)

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Down To The Lake.... 2 Goosanders!

Date: 20th December 2015
Location: Newton Park Lake Circular

Observation: A late afternoon wander out to the Lake, to catch up on the Goosander's. 
Bath Mill was filled with scavengers (Crows, Jackdaws, Magpies) that all seemed to hanging around waiting for something to happen! Also a few Robin's, Chaffinch's and a fly-past Kingfisher down the Brook (which we couldn't relocate).

Onto the Dog Walk and again there were more Corvid's and Wood Pigeon's, and a circling Buzzard over towards the River Avon. Not much of note in the Village until we got the churchyard, where 3 Greater-Spotted Woodpeckers were calling and flying from tree-to-tree.

We stopped and listened to a Blackbird going through his dictionary of bird song, these included: Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and Owl's. this never gets boring listening to this and have to admit we only stopped because we thought there was a Buzzard above us!

Onto the Lake, still no Little Owls, last seen 24th September, looking back on the blog we normally see towards the end of December, so keeping our fingers crossed that they re-appear.

We searched Top Lake for a few minutes and then over towards the commotion of the Black-Headed Gulls, there behold 2 Male Goosanders who were diving and feeding quite happily, apart from the Gull's diving for them.

We returned via the College Drive where there were 150+ fly-over roosting Gulls heading North and also some roosting Corvids who were settling down in the trees around the Village.

Weather: Blue Sky, Light Cloud + Some Wind

Other Species: 1 Buzzard, 3 Greater-Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Goosander (Male), 1 Kingfisher, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Pied Wagtail, 1 Treecreeper, 1 Mistle Thrush, 3 Teal (2 Male, 1 Female), 1 Goldcrest, 150+ Corvids (Crow, Jackdaw, Rook), 250+ Gulls (Herring, Lesser-Black-Backed, Black-Headed) - Of Note

Thanks For Looking !

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

10 Goosander, 9 Siskin.... 1 Collared Dove !

Date: 15/12/2015

Location: Newton St Loe - Patch 
Weather: Grey start then drizzle
Other Species:
Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Siskin, Goosander, Teal, Buzzard, Raven, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Redwing, Green Woodpecker, Common Gull,  Herring Gull - Plus The Usual
BOC / Bristol Ornithological had walk today so added are
 Sparrowhawk, Fieldfare, Redpoll and Meadow Pipit. :) 

Headed out through lanes today towards Home Farm @12 O'clock Lane saw Nuthatch, Goldcrests and Treecreeper feeding also 2 Buzzard over
at Farm saw a large group of Chaffinch around 40+, Maybe a Brambling but couldn't confirm with photos :( Here the some of the Chaffinch flock.

After being told yesterday by BOB we had Goosander on Top Lake was eager to see if still about, I needn't had worried now 10 (5 Male + 5 Female).

Light was awful but looked happy on lake .

Teal numbers have dropped just one left ,
also Raven heard calling, but 10 Goosander ! 

No sign of Little Owl but on Alders on Lower Lake a group of Siskin feeding around 10+.

Then it rained ! 

Thanks For Looking :)

Monday, 14 December 2015

8 Goosander on the lakes today, 3 Females + 5 Males

Received a tweet from Robert Hargreaves - @rojobus

Newton St Loe: 8 Goosander on the lakes today, 3 Females + 5 Males

+ Normal Teal, Heron, Kingfisher, Greater-Spotted Woodpecker, Redwing, Fieldfare and Goldcrests.

Goosander is a first time for us on our patch, will head out and try and get some pictures before they disappear! Takes our patch list to 82 !!

Many thanks for the sightings Robert!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

No Cake but Grey Phalarope @ Farmoor Res

Date: 06/12/2015
Location: Farmoor Reservoir - 5 miles from Oxford 
Weather:  Grey very windy @ Farmoor but dry ! 
Other Species: Grey Phalarope, Great Northern Diver, Red Kite, Goldeneye, Kestrel, Buzzard.

Had the weekend off, I'm 49 !
So a day trip was in order, weather not promising anywhere but, 
2 Grey Phalarope's @ Farmoor Reservoir near Oxford had been on twitter all week so decided at 7am Sunday morning to head up there, a lovely drive with no traffic! 1 hour and half later was stood on a very windy path of the almost 4 mile round Reservoir. Headed round to right and soon in sight were the Grey Phalaropes :)

Super little bird and really close down to 2m they just kept patrolling a 10 meter stretch in front of where I sat.

The wind was bracing ! The waves very choppy, suppose just like home .

After many many shots, most out of focus 
An extremely quick bird and the waves 
and wind.... Excuses excuses  !!
Headed on round lake with Goldeneye, Tufted Duck, Great Crested and Little Grebes and Coot being the majority. Although this gulp of Cormorants were enjoying the wind.

Groups of Greylag Geese c.50/60 in fields along the Thames
 and these two on the side of reservoir. A leucistic Greylag.

About a mile from the car park 
Spotted the Great Northern Diver, first winter very distant.

Last one of the Grey Phalorope.:) TICK !

Also on the 3rd December went to Slimbridge nice time lots of Plover, Lapwing and Curlew saw a Bittern no photo but cool,
Also saw the wild Great Scaup female, bad light again :(

Did patch walk on 5th very quiet and not much to report Mistle Thrush, Fieldfare and Redwing best with Buzzard plus kestrel in normal places did see this lenticular clouds over Seven Acre .

Thanks For Looking !

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Pinch, Punch, Patch !

Date: 01/12/2015
Location: Newton St Loe - Patch
 Weather: Grey, Warm, Dry
Redwing, Linnet, Kestrel, Herring, Lesser Black Backed, Common and Black Headed Gulls, Stonechat - Male

Very quiet today this Grey Squirrel was all on the Dog Track.

Not much else on Fields or Severn Acre.
A large group of Gulls LBB 50+ on lower Globe fields.
Then on horse field in Village around 10 Common Gulls with Black Headed, Lesser Black backed and Herring Gulls feeding and bathing 

Good selection of Gulls

Walking back only 1 Stonechat seen

Almost back and a group of Linnets around 5/6 splashing in puddle on lane,
so well camoed !

Then a small group of Redwing and a final Kestrel.

Thanks For Looking !